All News & Blogs
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio performs a mock swearing in for Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) while surrounded by her family as the 213th Congress began Thursday.
Charles Dharapak/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Visit the Photo Place
Date published: 1/4/2013
WASHINGTON--Politically, the 213th Congress that was sworn in Thursday won't be much of a change from the less-than-stellar 212th Congress it replaces: Democrats picked up a few seats in the House and Senate, but the balance of power is unchanged, with Republicans controlling the House and Democrats holding a majority in the Senate.
Yet a closer look finds that Congress is undergoing some of the changes that have altered the face of America in general, with women and minorities playing increasingly more prominent roles. Here's a breakdown.
The House has 233 Republicans and 200 Democrats. Each party should pick up one more seat when two vacancies are filled. Going into the election, the GOP edge was 242-193. Senate Democrats will have a caucus of 55, including two independents, Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Republicans have 45. That's a pickup of two seats for Democrats.
The House will have 79 women, including 60 Democrats. At the end of the last session, there were 50 Democratic women and 24 Republican women. The new Senate will have 20 women members, an increase of three. That consists of 16 Democrats and four Republicans. The last Senate had 12 Democratic women and five Republicans.
With two vacancies to be filled, the House has 82 freshmen; 47 Democrats and 35 Republicans. As of the end of the last session, 87 of 103 freshmen were Republicans. The Senate will include 14 new faces, with nine Democrats and the independent King. Five are women. New senators include Brian Schatz, who was sworn in on Dec. 27 to fill the seat of the late Hawaii Democrat Daniel Inouye.
The House will have 40 African-Americans, all Democrats. The number of Democrats is unchanged, although two Republicans will be gone: Allen West, R-Fla., lost his re-election bid, and Tim Scott, R-S.C., was appointed to fill the Senate seat of Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who is retiring. Scott will be the first black lawmaker in the Senate since Roland Burris, who retired in 2010 after filling the Illinois Senate seat of Barack Obama for almost two years.